Happy New Year!

| It's a new year, and a chilly one! It is a brisk 36°F this morning.  more



| I feel a little like Punxatawny Phil, rousted from a long winter's nap to face February. Not that I've been napping for the whole month of January. I'm just saying...  more


A super Super Bowl weekend 2011

| The usual suspects came to Desert Hot Springs to observe the pseudo-holiday Super Bowl. This was the 13th consecutive year that we have observed this all-American pseudo holiday by getting together somewhere to dine, and dine, and dine. Oh, yeah, we also watch the game — but mostly for the commercials. This year's ads were sort of ho-hum.  more


Why can't Microsoft make things that 'just work'?

| This morning I decided to see if I could set up my Dell laptop to run as a remote desktop on my Gateway. The Dell has a complete stand-alone web development environment — Apache web server, PHP scripting language, and MySQL database — and sometimes I'd like to quickly try an idea while I'm sitting with my Gateway in the living room or on the patio without having to walk back to the office. Windows has a feature called Remote Desktop that sounds exactly right:  more


Snow on the mountain

| Last Friday Mother Nature dumped on the the valley again. It simply poured Friday night, all night, and the morning brought mostly cloudy but drier skies. Finally on Sunday morning, everything cleared and we could see and smell what she had done. Smell, because the air had beent thoroughly washed and cleared of dust and pollution, leaving nothing but freshness.  more


The escrow that won't close

| When I accepted the offer on my condo in mid-January, it was supposed to close in 30 days — that is, by mid-February. It's now mid-March, and it's still not closed.  more


Light at the end of the tunnel?

| Late yesterday afternoon a tiny speck of light emerged from the black hole that has been Wells Fargo Bank. My Buyer received this email:  more


Opera in the Park 2011

| Opera in the Park has become an annual tradition for the bunch — What's not to like about a picnic under beautiful spring skies with a free concert? In fact, if you come early, you can actually enjoy the concert twice, once during rehearsal and again in full-dress.  more


Foolish news round-up

| Today we bring you this recap of top mockable news stories in March:  more


Anza-Borrego or bust

| In the spring of years past, we have made excursions to the poppy fields near Lancaster. This year we thought we'd try for other wild flowers, and Anza-Borrego came to mind. We thought we might have left it a bit late, but there had been other important demands on our Sundays earlier. So, yesterday we piled into the Prius headed for Borrego Springs, right in the middle of the park. It would be about a two-hour drive.  more


The mind boggles

| Either the world has lost its ever-lovin' mind, or I have. There is no other explanation.  more



| The long real-estate nightmare is finally over. The sale of my Palm Springs condo has finally closed, 287 days after it was listed for sale.  more


On the eve of Rapture

| There are people absolutely convinced that The Rapture will occur tomorrow, May 21st. Supposedly those who died believing in Christ shall rise from the dead and the living who are similarly right-thinking will all be gathered up and taken to Heaven to be reunited with Jesus. Those left behind are to suffer grievously from earthquake, fire, pestilence, and other unpleasantness.  more


Still here!

| As Gertrude Stein said, "There's no there there." She was not, of course, speaking of The Rapture, but of not being able to find her childhood home in Oakland. And Saturday night, 6pm PDT to be precise, proved there's no Rapture there either. The headquarters of Family Radio Worldwide in Oakland remained closed and presumably disappointed followers of Harold Camping were left camping in the parking lot.  more


In with the new

| It's fun to spend money. It's even more fun to spend money that you actually have, as opposed to money that Visa will loan you for an exhorbitant interest rate. Now that the condo has closed, I am working on my to-do list.  more



| The Addison Avenue Federal Credit Union — née HP Credit Union — was swallowed up last year by First Tech Credit Union in what was touted as a merger "of equals." A 20-page booklet sent out earlier this spring to every AAFCU member promised that "when we were creating our new logo, we were committed to honoring the heritage of both credit unions...."  more


Sarah fever

| Say what you will about Sarah Palin, she does know how to get attention! She crashed the big Harley Davidson Rolling Thunder Ride in Washington DC on Memorial Day, then set off on what she's calling a "One Nation" tour of historic sites.  more


A char-broiled Weiner

| It's come to this: the darling of the progressive wing of the Democratic party is a crotch-ety old lech. Anthony Weiner finally admitted in a New York press conference this afternoon that the now famous Twitter photo is his — with certitude.  more


Accentuate the negative

| Last November, the Republicans took control not only of the US House, but also many of the governorships and state legislatures. The verdict is now in — the voters don't like what they bought!  more


Encounters with brick walls

| Faithful readers — there are maybe one or two — may recall that I am converting one of my websites from static html pages to, at least in part, pages generated dynamically from a database. Take this website, for example: it's all static pages. Once I've written one of these articles, it's never going to change (unless I go back to correct a typo or add a picture). Each article is one page of html code.  more


Summer solstice, summer sizzle

| As recently as Sunday at brunch, The Bunch were sitting around marveling about how inordinately mild the summer was. It was past the middle of June and the weather was more like May.  more


Well bowl me over!

| If it's summer it must be bowling season. The summer season of the Monday night Fun Handicap League got started on 6 June, and once again the usual suspects showed up to display their skill (or lack thereof) and utter disregard for the competitive dimension of the game.  more


Fourth of July 2011

| Although I believe that given the current state of civic affairs the 4th of July should be observed as a National Day of Mourning rather than as a celebration, the Brunch Bunch did its patriotic best to follow tradition.  more


Starving the beast

| The chickens have come home to roost. The impasse in Washington over the budget and the debt ceiling is the latest battle in a war against the government begun back in the days of Ronald Reagan when the "starve the beast" strategy was born.1 The idea was that people would never agree to reducing government services, so by enacting popular tax cuts programs could be slashed later as a necessity of not having sufficient funds. "The beast" — the government — would be starved to death. We've seen how well that worked out — instead of slashing programs the government has instead borrowed money to keep the programs going.  more


Spare Me advances

| Spare Me! after 5 weeks of bowling this summer now stands in 3rd place, just 1½ points behind first place Hunters.  more


Apocalypse, now not so much

| It seems as if the voice of reason may have a chance to be heard in Washington. Yesterday, American business leaders sent a letter to President Obama and all members of Congress saying, essentially, "Get it done!"  more


Sanity reigns

| Americans have always been very practical people — show them a problem and they'll set about trying to fix it. Until recently, innovation and creativity were hallmarks of the American ethos. We were the "can do" country of the world.  more


After 8 weeks of bowling

| The past two weeks of bowling have been deeply satisfying. We did really well against formidable opponents. And, after 8 weeks of the season (only 3 left), Spare Me! finds itself in 2nd place. Woo-hoo!  more


What's behind the mean gate?

| The key to one of Sherlock Holmes' more famous cases was the dog that didn't bark. Farther east in the Coachella Valley, we have cases of the hot-air balloons that don't soar. In the early morning hours it used to be quite usual to see a dozen or more balloons drifting languidly above the valley, but no more thanks to a spate of lawsuits filed against the balloonists by the owners of an olive ranch near Indio.  more


Up, up and away!

| The hot-air balloonists and their lawyer were about to get a court-ordered look behind the mean gates in Indio. But a funny thing happened on the way: the plaintiffs — John C and Carol Marrelli, along with their daughter Marilena, all of Solana Beach — suddenly dropped all their lawsuits against the balloonists. Never mind!  more


Calling to close my account

| One of the first things I did after starting work at HP was to open an account at the HP Employees Federal Credit Union.  more


Spare Me! finishes in 2nd place

| I know, nobody wants to be in 2nd place (although Avis turned it to good marketing advantage). But Spare Me! was quite happy to be there.  more


LA County Fair in Pomona

| As September drew to a close, the usual suspects — Bob, Réal, and I, but not Ken this time — made the traditional visit to the LA County Fair. As usual, we went on a Wednesday when old codgers get in at a very low price. This year we splurged and bought VIP parking, which put us about 50 feet from the entrance. Yes!  more


None of the above

| The Republican debatathon goes on. And on. If anything is clear it is this: none of the above wins this contest in a landslide.  more


Class welfare

| The Republicans latest attack line is that Obama is waging "class warfare", pitting class against class and people against each other. This is just another example of the pot calling the kettle black. In fact, it is a rhetorical device of which the Repugnicans are extremely fond — claiming that the adversary is doing what they themselves are doing.  more


Usage nazis

| I read a lot of library books — the old fashioned kind printed with ink on paper and pages that you actually turn. And it seems rare that I can make it all the way through a book without finding an annotation correcting a presumably egregious error in the book. To wit:  more


Long pants weather

| A cold front has moved in, bringing snow and making everyone excavate their long pants from the nether regions of the closet.  more


A cold, wet Pride

| Sunday was the Palm Springs Pride parade and the second day of the festival. The usual suspects met up early in the morning for parking, breakfast, and a prime viewing location.  more



| The off-year elections are often yawners that generate little interest, enthusiasm, or importance. 2011 may be the exception that proves the rule (whatever that expressions means).  more


The harder they fall

| We've seen two spectacular falls this week — one set off rioting in the streets, the other made pundits hyperventilate.  more


Do no harm

| Having itself failed to reach any kind of "grand bargain" to solve the "debt crisis" (a wholly manufactured calamity), Congress in its infinite wisdom delegated the task to a committee of 12, known as the Super Committee, charged with finding a way to eliminate $1.2 trillion in Federal debt — and do it by November 23. Or else!  more


Thanksgiving 2011

| For Thanksgiving, the usual suspects convened at Ken's for the annual pig-out feast. Oink, oink!  more


The forlorn roadrunner

| The wind is roaring through the desert today, steadily over 30mph with gusts to 55. It's a continuation of what began last night, and is predicted to last through most of the day and then recur on Friday morning.  more


Festival of Lights parade 2011

| With temperatures in the 50s and a light breeze, it definitely felt like winter at this year's Festival of Lights Parade. The streets were packed as the estimated 80,000 people streamed into town for this annual event. The bad news was that traffic and parking were a mess. The good news was that since we had to park so far away from the parade route, that once we reached the car afterwards, getting back home was a piece of cake.  more


Happy birthdays to you!

| The usual suspects, plus a bunch more, assembled Sunday evening at the Rainbow to celebrate birthdays: Réal's 60th and Kenny's 58th. Since their birthdays are just a couple of days apart they decided last year that they would have a joint birthday party once Richard and Kenny got to Palm Springs from Montreal.  more


Borowitz Report

| I've recently started to read The Borowitz Report by comedian Andy Borowitz. Many days its fake news articles are just laughing-out-loud funny. If you're fond of Jon Stewart and The Daily Show, Stephen Colbert and The Colbert Report, the political skits of Saturday Night Live, or The Onion and the like, you'll probably enjoy tuning in to the Borowitz Report.  more


Why does this man look like he's ready to cry?

| The party that can't say "Yes" just said "Uncle!" The House Repugnicans, led by Speaker John Boehner, gave up their intransigence over the 2-month extension of the payroll tax holiday and extended unemployment benefits, and with good reason:  more


Merry Christmas

| The usual suspects, et al, gathered chez moi to observe Christmas with the customary good cheer and feasting.  more


Landscaping project: "Before"

| When I moved into this house there were three big things on the "to-do" list:  more



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